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What The Pros Are Saying: The Big Picture Planner

Planner Binder for Photographers

Ultimate Planner for Photographers

Big Picture Planner for Photographers

Studio Success Planner for Photographers

Printable Planner

Customizable Planner for Photographers

Planner Template for Photographers

Printable Planner for Photographers

Getting your studio (and personal life) organized can be a challenge sometimes, but oh-so-rewarding! Andie Reavely of A Visual Anthology is sharing how she's started her new year off right with The Big Picture Planner: "My first step was to find something I liked to use to contain my pages and found that I could upload custom designs to Zazzle.com! I ordered a custom printed 1-inch 3-ring binder and I love it! I feels professional and was easy to make it match my studio vibe.

Secondly, I used the suggested 32lb paper for my pages and sections; (it's the best paper choice and oh so smooth to write on!) Next, I ordered a bunch of darling washi paper tapes and gold jumbo paperclips to help me organize and block out times and days on my monthly and weekly schedules. Finally, I got to work brain storming goals and action steps!

I love how the sections continually remind me of my goals and to-do items—in both my business and personal time. The weekly overview sections really help me to focus my week and set tangible, manageable goals. I have a spacious standing desk that enables me to have the planner open and beside me throughout my work day, helping me maximize my time and brain space.

I also love the simplistic, yet versatile design of the template, which allowed for me to change and add a few sections that were relevant to my studio and workflow. Ah! And speaking of workflow, I am loving the streamlined workflow section! I feel peace of mind knowing that I won't forget something or lose track of any details, or forget what has been completed!"

Thanks for sharing, Andie! We love your approach and are so happy for your success. Enjoy your $75 shopping spree on us~

Have you created something awesome with Design Aglow products? Feel free to send us images here. If we feature it on the blog you’ll get a $75 shopping spree at Design Aglow!

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Day In The Life: Jenni Kupelian Photography

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We are excited to continue an ongoing series of Day in the Life Features from some of our fabulous contributors. These blog posts will take you through an average day of some of the top photographers in the industry.

Today we are pleased to feature Jenni of Jenni Kupelian Photography. Enjoy ~

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7:00 am:  As a wedding and portrait photographer, weekends tend to be very busy with on location shooting. On this particular Saturday, I woke up early to prepare for a morning family session in the rain. I never really need an alarm on shoot days as I always seem to wake up about 30 seconds before it goes off. Following a routine is a bit of a paradox for me. In some ways I fight against checklists and scheduling...while some things fall naturally into a routine without me realizing it. My morning coffee is an example of a natural habit that I look forward to every morning. I love watching the cream swirl with the darkness of the coffee, so I never skip this ritual with my french press. Mornings before shoots can be hectic so it’s usually a quick bowl of cereal for breakfast before I prep my equipment.

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8:00 am:  Before a shoot, I give myself ample time to set out my equipment, format and test memory cards, charge back up batteries and pre-load film backs. My house could be (and often is) a total mess but I never skip this step, or risk equipment issues on client time. I’ve been shooting professionally for 3 years now and I still get a little nervous before sessions. I’ve found that organizing my gear helps reduce those jitters and helps clear my mind. I used to believe nervousness was just a “beginners issue” that I would soon grow out of. It turns out that it’s just how I’m built as a person, and instead of make war against myself for feeling nervous I’ve learned to embrace it. It’s a feeling that indicates I care about my clients and the product I offer them...and as soon as I start shooting, the nerves disappear. So I’ve learned to push through those uncomfortable feelings and use them to my advantage.

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For family sessions I make sure I have the following with me:

Canon 5d Mark III with an 85 mm F/1.8 Lens and a 50mm F/1.8 Lens : I shoot predominately with the 50 mm because I like the range it gives me for portraiture with beautiful bokeh and the ability to jump back for wider long shots.

Mamiya 645 AF with 80mm F/2.8 Lens + Kodak Portra 220 Film: I consider myself a hybrid photographer moving towards adding more and more film to my process. I like to shoot Kodak Portra 220 during family sessions because it allows me more exposures before having to reload another roll of film.

Sekonic L-358 Light Meter: I love this light meter when shooting medium format film. It’s lightweight, gives accurate readings and is no-nonsense. I wear it around my neck during every session I shoot.

Instax Mini: When time allows, I try to take a few instant photos with this fun camera. Kids love to watch the photos pop up and it’s a great way to make them smile if they are losing interest in getting their photo taken. Sometimes I’ll even let them take a picture of their parents with it.

Batteries, Bandaids, Stickers, Wrist Watch: I carry battery back ups for my film and digital cameras, bandaids for skinned knees or “new shoes” blisters, stickers for the kiddos as rewards and a digital wrist watch. Why the watch? I don’t like pulling out my phone during sessions to check the time. It kills time digging for it and I also don’t have to worry that my clients may think I’m texting or playing candy crush when the phone comes out.

Reflector: I’m a big fan of using reflectors to bounce light. Even in over-cast Portland skies, I feel that using them helps add twinkle to my clients eyes and reduce under-eye or chin shadow. I use them on the white side to keep the light neutral and natural.

Stepping Stool, Neutral Blanket, Umbrella : I have a lightweight folding stepping stool that has a handle on it, that has absolutely saved me with tall clients. The umbrella is white to match with all outfits and helps keep my clients dry. Neutral blankets are great for families to sit on without clashing with their wardrobe or the scenery.

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10:00 am:  I usually arrive to shoot locations about 30 minutes before my clients to re-scout the area and situate my thoughts. I’m lucky enough to have my husband assisting me on most weekend shoots. I often shoot alone on over-cast days or even in a little drizzle. However this day was a real downpour and having him there to help keep my clients dry was life-saving for my sanity (and my client’s too!). My clients on this particular Saturday were amazing, patient and up for using the rain to our advantage to create photographs authentic to the Pacific Northwest.

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11:00 am:  Family sessions are fun, but also very physically demanding. I often find myself sitting in puddles, mud, and pine needles. On this particular day I arrived home covered in mud from accidentally sliding down the hill into some mud. In addition to being covered in mud I’m usually famished by this time. While breakfast is always quick on Saturday mornings, I really enjoy slowing down to make a nice lunch. My favorite is pasta with parmesan, parsley, lemon, olive oil, pepper flakes and radishes.

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12:00 pm:  We don’t have children yet, but even so I’m amazed at the dishes that can compile during the busy week from just two people. Not to mention the pile of laundry that collects on our bed. I really can’t stand folding laundry and usually put it off as long as possible. After lunch...it’s time to finally tackle the household chores.

Our Corgi Walter loves to lay next to the laundry on the bed, especially when it’s nice and warm straight out of the dryer. When he falls asleep on top of it, that’s even better because then I can hold off folding it even longer!

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3:00 pm:  After I do a swoop of the house, I go out to check on our chickens and gather eggs. They (Left to right: Lara Croft, Little Allison + Modi) are always very excited to see my feet coming towards them as they know they’ll get a treat (usually chicken scratch or corn kernels). I put fresh bedding in the coop and check to see what new items they’ve destroyed in my garden (I love them anyway).

I also walk our Corgi named Walter...he loves to trot through the neighborhood saying hello to neighbors and chasing squirrels.

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5:00 pm: After finishing taking care of the animals, I usually start in on workflow and triple backing up files from the earlier shoot. I’ve learned to be very particular about making sure my raw files are safe and sound on my server before importing anything to Lightroom. I’ve also developed a naming code system for folders and recently started using 17 Hats to help keep contracts and client invoices archived and organized (it’s a life saver!).

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I usually try to edit two sneak peek photos from the session to send to my client the following day along with a thank you and a “completion schedule” reminder. I’ve found that parents are often worried that there will be no good photos after watching me chase their kids around in the rain. With that in mind, I like to set clients as ease as soon as I can. This also helps tide them over until final image delivery 2-4 weeks later.

7:00 pm - midnight:

My husband and I are natural night owls. He uses the weekend to study and catch up on personal projects where as I tend to spend Saturdays editing, packing and prepping packaging that will ship out to clients on Monday, as well as invoicing, emailing and planning my social and blog posts for the week (if I’m lucky). As the night progresses we like to light candles (especially in the fall) and find great movie soundtracks to listen to on spotify. Lately it’s been Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Interstellar (ya, we are nerds). It creates a great ambiance for being productive but trying to embrace the weekend at the same time.

I often have trouble settling my mind down before bed. My hopes and dreams will often fill my mind, which can be a good and bad thing! Sometimes I struggle with feeling insecure about my lack of a studio or large social following. However, I’m learning that I can use the tools I have now and keep building my vision stone by stone. There is an amazing quote by Arthur Ashe that says, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can”. This has been the mantra of my whole year launching a re-brand and simplifying my business life. I can’t do it all and I can’t be perfect...but I can do the best that I can with the tools in front of me and walk forward in that confidence. I try to remember that as I close my eyes each night...that makes for a good night’s sleep.

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Thanks, Jenni!

~ Stay tuned for more Q&A posts from our wonderful contributing photographers.

Are you a contributor (or interested in becoming one) and would love a feature? Contact us here!

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Getting To Know The Pros: Katch Silva

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We are excited to introduce a series of Q&A’s from some of our fabulous contributors. These blog posts will include 5 questions and showcase some of the artist’s recent work. Are you a contributor (or interested in becoming one) and would love a feature? Contact us here!

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Hi Katch! We love that you travel so much. Where do you go for work?

I go wherever the story is! My favorite locations that I've shot in include weddings in Anghiari, Italy, Beilstein, Germany, the forests of Olympic National Park, and any desert in southern CA. Any couple who is up to hike has already won me over. As far as traveling NOT for work, my most recent (and favorite) location is Norway. I took two weeks off in the summer to road trip and backpack around Norway and it was basically the best decision ever. It’s so important to take trips for yourself as well!

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Do you have any stories or memories that stand out from these adventures?

I have a fun story from my trip to Norway. We were backpacking along the Besseggen Ridge, and about 4 miles in we ran into a big herd of reindeer. It was absolutely insane. The feeling of being surrounded by these gorgeous and powerful creatures was incredible, and they let us get very close and just wandered around as they fed, not minding our company. Pretty amazing!

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What do you always bring with you when your travel?

I always bring my phone with an extra battery pack case (because I often can't charge my phone every day especially if I'm camping), compression socks for the flights, and neck pillow for overnight flights. Blister band-aids, ibuprofen, wool socks and a Cliff bar are also permanently packed in my bag just in case. That's pretty normal right? :)

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What are some of your favorite places and why?  

I have a few favorite places on earth. One is definitely the Besseggen Ridge, the same ridge where we ran into the reindeers. Our campsite that night was located between a glacial lake at our level on one side and a larger lake that was way below our level on the other side. It was pretty surreal. I included a couple of photos, but describing it or showing the photo doesn't even do it the slightest justice.

One of my other favorite places on earth is Joshua Tree National Park. Some people might not find beauty in the desert but for me it’s one of the few places where anything goes, you can run around, climb over boulders and find new nooks and caves all the time. And camping out there is the best, with no other person around to bother you or distract you. The stars at night are pretty amazing too.

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You sell your travel prints online and they are beautiful. What are some tips you have for travelers wanting to capture better images?  

Being ready for the shot is the most important, especially when wildlife is involved. Which is why I usually hike with a small mirrorless camera (the Canon EOS M) or my phone instead of my DSLR. I have it out the whole time, so I can be ready quickly without having to put my pack down, take my camera out of it, zip it back up, and put it back on.

There was actually an instance when this came in handy and I was so lucky to have had my camera out. I was hiking on a ridge in Montana and a band of mountain goats came towards us. They didn't look too happy, so we slowly walked down off the trail down the mountain a bit to let them pass. There was very little time to act and as they passed right near us we had to stay still and make no sudden movements. I had my camera out already so I was able to take a shot of one of the goats as he walked by, stopped to look at us, and kept walking. There definitely wouldn't have been enough time for me to scramble for my camera if it had been in my pack. Lesson learned!

When I hike with couples for weddings or engagements I obviously bring my DLSR by the way! In my handy Poler pack that makes it easy to carry :)

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Anything else to add?

The goat story has a weird ending, so I'll share it and try to make it brief. One of the more aggressive goats came off the trail towards us and he was looking rather angry so when he got too close (we could have almost reached out and touched him) we were forced to use bear spray to scare him away. Which I guess leads me to another tip, if you're in bear country, carry bear spray. No question. It saved us from a possibly violent encounter. (side note: bear spray doesn't harm the animal permanently!). That was the first and only time I've ever had to use bear spray. Hopefully it stays that way!

Thanks, Katch!

Learn more from this inspiring photographer in Volume 1 of AGLOW Magazine, available here.

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I’m Katch. I’m a photographer, an artist, a storyteller, and a lover of the outdoors. I spend my free time in the mountains, camping, hiking, climbing and documenting adventures. I live in Southern California and travel often. Storytelling is what I love, and documenting mood is very important to me. I’m constantly inspired by the organic– mountains, rock, wind, rain, and anything found in nature.

 

To see more of Katch's work, visit her at katchsilva.com.

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Getting To Know The Pros: Sarah Carson

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We are excited to introduce a series of Q&A’s from some of our fabulous contributors. These blog posts will include 5 questions and showcase some of the artist’s recent work. Are you a contributor (or interested in becoming one) and would love a feature? Contact us here!

Today we are pleased to feature the wonderful Sarah Carson. Enjoy ~

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Q: Tell us about your studio, style and approach.

A: Sarah Anne Photography is run by just me :) I have become utterly addicted to providing amazing imagery for people and really impacting their lives. Photographs can be more powerful than words and it's such a great feeling to watch someone react to their memories I've captured. My approach is to photograph people as they are and as they will never be again. Time is fleeting and photography is a humble way to catch glimpses of our time here. Romance between lovers, laughter between soulmates, nose kisses and hand holds.. all of it. It's the little things that bring the biggest feelings.

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Q: If you had to sum up your style in 1-2 sentences, what would you say.

A: I have a natural pull towards an editorial style of photographing my clients. I have purpose and intention behind every shot I take, creating simple images with striking composition and focus showcasing a particular slice of time.

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Q: How do you ensure you have a sustainable business?

A: I ensure I have a sustainable business by continuing to produce work through workshops, test shoots and actual paying clients. I make social media posts and keep in contact with potential clients. Even if it's a slow week or month, I spread out my posts to make myself appear busy, even if I'm not ;)

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Q: What are your best selling products? do you sell in person? tell us about your sales process (photographers get super inspired by this)

A: My best selling products are my albums. I bring examples to bridal meetings and market it as "I'll save you time after your wedding and deliver you something beautiful". Brides have enough worries, they don't need to be thinking about scrapbooking or attempting to design an album on their own.

My sales process is getting a facelift now that I have all my Design Aglow products. Inspired by a fellow photographer, I am using the Minimalist Wedding Magazine template to create informational magazines that cover my services A-Z. After an initial inquiry, if a bride chooses to meet with me, I send them the digital copy of the magazine before the meeting. That way, they have a chance to look it over in private, get a really great feel for what I do and feel more comfortable moving forward to the meeting. At the meeting itself, I review the magazine packet and bring along my example goodies (prints, albums, cards etc) so they have the chance to see items in person. Seeing is believing, and clients are more willing to invest in something they can experience first hand. Once we've discussed their needs, I send them a custom quote (if need be, usually they pick a pre-made package) with the contract, wedding info sheets and anything else they may be requiring.

In the digital era, Design Aglow is really helping me to make my process and organization so streamlined, that my clients feel the process is efficient and digitally painless.

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Q: What are your top 3 tips for success?

A: My three tips to success:

  1. Positivity is key to bringing in a fruitful energy to make your business blossom. If you believe what you're doing is good and that it should exist in the world, it will happen.
  2. Know your worth and stand by it. You are a master at your craft and that mastery is worth something. Just because everyone and their mother has a camera doesn't mean they can do what you do.
  3. Get organized, stay organized. Running your own business is insane, crazy, chaotic and wonderful. Develop a system, let it change as you need it, but keep your ducks in a row. It's much easier to maintain structure than to try and build it months or years into your business. (Design Aglow can even help if you're already a bit crazy!)


Thanks, Sarah!

~ Stay tuned for more Q&A posts from our wonderful contributing photographers.

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To view more of Sarah's work, visit her at sarahannephoto.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Letters From A Photographer: To My Husband, Because I Need Your Support For My New Business

Letters From A Photographer

To my unsupportive husband,


I know you work so hard every day to support our family and I want you to know that I appreciate it. I respect you, and your job, but sometimes I feel like I don’t get that same respect back. I know that society has taught us to believe that photography is not a “real job”, so I’m not blaming you for thinking that way.


But I am asking you to change the way you think. My love of photography may have started out as a hobby, but I’m a professional photographer now. And even though my job doesn’t require me to put on a suit and go to an office every day, it is a real job. I value your opinion and as my husband, I need your support. I need you to believe in me.


Running a photography business isn’t easy. I need to invest in equipment and invest in training. I need to shoot in the evenings and on weekends sometimes. I won’t make a lot of money in the beginning. And I know it feels risky to invest our money in my photography, but I want you to know this isn’t just an expensive hobby that I’m going to get bored with in 6 months. This is a business.


I know you see me working hard to grow my business. I’ve learned how to create a website and I’ve learned how to shoot manual and how to pose and work with all sorts of clients, even newborns. I have set up an efficient workflow, made a business plan and customized legal contracts and policies for my business. I’m getting paid for my work and even though it’s not a lot of money just yet, I know I’m on the right track.


But when you make sarcastic comments about how I’m better at spending money on photography than making money doing photography, I feel irresponsible. When you use air quotes when you talk about my “photography business”, I feel humiliated. When you tell me we shouldn’t spend $700 for me to go to a workshop, I feel ashamed for mentioning it. When you tell me I should “just cancel that session” so we can make other plans, I feel disrespected.


I work just as hard as you do every day. Just because my job does not bring home a steady paycheck does not mean that it is any less important than yours. I know that’s not easy to hear. But it’s true. And it’s the root of all our problems involving my new business. I need your respect. I need your trust. I need your support. Without it, my business will never succeed.


Sincerely,


Your Wife, the professional photographer

Letters From a Photographer is an original series by Design Aglow. Articles are meant to spark thought and conversation and be shared within our industry.

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